You have been to Boracay. Twice. You are on your way to Cebu. You are booked for Palawan. But there’s still 7,104 islands more to go. And Romblon should be the next on your list. Let me tell you why.
Composed of three main islands namely Tablas, Romblon, and Sibuyan, the province Romblon is not usually on the must-go lists for travellers in the Philippines. The gateway to the province is Tablas Island where the airport and the main ferry ports are located. Sibuyan Island has been dubbed as the “Galapagos of Asia” for its unique and teeming flora and fauna. As for Romblon Island, little is known about it aside from being the Marble Capital of the Philippines. Little is still known, which only means there is so much more waiting to be explored.
Approaching the port of Romblon Island, the first thing that would catch your attention is a structure reminiscent of a castle — a fortress atop a hill. This piece of history quickly gets you in the mood to explore, discover, and learn about this place which strangely is at the heart of the Philippines yet still remains distant to many. The main town is just right by the bay where the boats dock. And although dotted by small specialty shops, local eateries, and a mini funfair where locals hang out and place their bets on the “pula-puti” game board, the town still feels sleepy and the vibe speaks of simplicity.
The town of Romblon is best explored using a motorbike which you can rent for Php 500 for an entire day. Winding roads by the coast serve as your viewing deck for an unlimited view of a calm sea dotted by islets and the orange sun, little by little dipping and hinding behind the mountain range as it begins to set. It has got to be one of the sexiest sillhouettes you will ever see.
Although Romblon is not too far away from the famous and celebrated Boracay Island, it has still kept most of its hidden gems from the crowd. Getting to one of its spectacular spots, Bonbon Beach, is still shady as shady can get. Riding a tricycle, you will be dropped off by the main road in the middle of nowhere and will just be told to enter through a mini-forest. A narrow path among old palm trees and dried shrubs leads you to the beach and the first glance will blow you away. Remember the moment in the movie The Beach where Leonardo DiCaprio saw the magical cove for the first time? It is that kind of moment. The beach was glistening white, the palm trees were standing tall, and the white sand bar is peacefully resting in the middle of azure waters. And the best part? No other person around. The beach is all yours.
Romblon’s waters is also teeming with abundant marine life. An hour away from the main town is Agpanabat Reef. Just a few meters away from the shore, huge corals will start greeting you. A few more and you find yourself in the middle coral structures formed into cave-like passages with vibrant marine creatures of all sorts: colourful reef fishes, scores of blue starfish, and soft anemones. On a lucky day, a few green sea turtles will be your swimming buddies.
There are already several small resorts popping up along Romblon’s coastline. Some homes welcome guests as well. Spend the night out on the beach for a hearty dinner of grilled squid, fish, and vegetables: fresh seafood and meat are very affordable in Romblon. Dip your toes in its quiet waters and you’ll be guaranteed to see glowing planktons. It is honestly such a magical and inspiring sight.
It comes as a surprise that Romblon Island is not much-talked about by many travellers yet. But once you get there, a part of you would want the place to remain that way: untouched, kept, and hidden. And only those who take time to explore its corners and secrets will be rewarded to see its raw beauty. The kind of beauty that makes you giggle, that you cannot stop talking about, and that truly captivates you.